“Something serious is going on”. Horse ranch owner worries alarming conditions of horses in Iitate, Fukushima

Photo by Osamu Nakamura,
Photo by Osamu Nakamura,

Written by Michitaka Kobayashi

Photes by Osamu Nakamura



As I climbed the steep stairs to the Yamatsumi shinto shrine from the entrance gateway at the bottom of the mountain, the view over the beautiful Iitate village surrounded by the rich nature appeared in front of me. There was once a rumor, based on a TV program, that Yamatzumi shrine blocked the wave of radiation, shielding the village. I asked about the rumor, but the person living in the shrine laughed my question down saying, “Oh, I have heard about it!”  Maybe the TV clues wanted to create an emotional episode that a shinto shrine protected the village from radiation. 

As soon as we met, Hosokawa started saying, “This country is going mad. There is something seriously wrong going on”. He led us to the ranch after quick exchange of greetings. According to him, horses have fallen ill one by one within these short weeks. Among his 34 horses, four were unable to stand up anymore.


One of the four, a white miniature horse, had the worst condition. Its skin was badly damaged. The veterinarian doctor who accompanied us saw it and indicated the symptoms of damaged liver although he did not know the reason. It had jaundiced eyes. The doctor was wondering why its knees were so wobbly. Hosokawa stroked the lying horse, saying, “I think it can’t make it through this month. Poor thing….”

A wild boar rushed down beside the ranch, as we were talking. 


15 foals have been born since the beginning of this year, but 14 of them died within a month, sometimes within a week.

“I have lived with horses since I was a kid, but I have never seen anything like this. It’s not normal. I think radiation is responsible for this”.

Hosokawa stresses the effect of radiation as a cause. Of course he doesn’t have proper scientific grounds to support his idea, but his long relationship with horses gives him the instinctive feeling. 

The media have reported that many cows had died in the evacuation area, because people who fed them left the village, and the cows didn’t get sufficient nutrition to survive. However, the horses on Hosokawa’s ranch have been getting sufficient feed, if not plenty.The horses without symptoms did not look skinny and seemed to have appetite.


Later we asked a public health control centre to check the blood of the miniature horse. The results were negative for transmitted diseases or nutrient deficiency. But they did not conclude that it was not leukemia, which can be connected with radiation. The centre said they needed further investigation to determine the cause of the horse’s debility.

Recently at a conference at Tokyo University four scientists reported that some abnormalities in plants and animals have been witnessed around the areas of Fukushima nuclear power plants, including Iitate. However, under the current regulation for radiation, the effects of radiation may not even be associated with the thyroid cancer on children. It would be highly doubtful to acknowledge the association between the radiation effect and the abnormal conditions of the horses. Howeve, although there is a difficulty to admit the relationship between radiation and health risks, the fact that Iitate is included in the evacuation zone means that there is a certain risk in health to stay in the area.


Maybe the alarming conditions of animals may bring up new insight. What is happening to the horses? 


Hosokawa had been actively involved in local community activities. He had participated with his horses at many events organized by shrines all around Japan and in traditional samurai TV series. His horses have appeared on TV with popular samurai heroes on their backs. Hosokawa’s horses had also served for local elementary schools and schools for the blind, for therapy purposes.

After the earthquake, Hosokawa evacuated with his wife and daughter, but he soon returned to his village to look after the cows and horses, which he treats like members of his family. He even rescued animals living at other farms with his truck, as a favour, asked by fellow domestic livestock dealers. Since then, he has been fighting alone, literally, only by himself.

He has pleaded with TEPCO and the Iitate local authorities to evacuate horses to other areas, but he has been turned down for the reason that there is no place to accept the animals. So he stayed in the village and kept looking after horses. He somehow managed to send 87 horses away safely using his personal connections. He claimed TEPCO for compensation for the 87 horses, but the power company rejected his claim for the lack of evidence of Hosokawa breeding his horses.   

 “To be honest with you, I have almost reached the limit to give up. But I can’t leave the horses behind. They have helped our family in generations. How can I abandon them? I’m ready to die with my horses here”.

Hosokawa has been ignoring suggestions to do health check-ups on himself, and getting internal radiation measuring with the Whole Body Counter. For Hosokawa, what he can do now is to save the horses in return for their serving Hosokawa family.  


At his ranch, the dead bodies of horses which died a month ago, now only with bones and skin exposed after being eaten by birds and foxes, were left on the ground unattached.    

 “It is illegal to keep the dead bodies like this, but I keep them as evidence of the horses’ death to present to TEPCO. I wish I could bury them”.  


The white miniature horse with the serious health conditions died at the end of March, a week after our visit. As soon as it died, crows came and plucked out the eye balls from its head, Hosokawa later told me.

We were overwhelmed by Hosokawa’s ghastly expression on his face and stunned with a shock by the grave situation, which was beyond our imagination.

 “This country is going mad, I‘m sure something grave is going to happen”.  He murmured many times, as if he was talking to himself.

On April 1, we heard that Yamatzumi shrine had burned down, and that the body of a woman was found on the site. 

Request form Hosokawa

Hosokawa hasn’t openly talked about his horses and their unusual conditions because he feared that it would trouble others with whom he has personally relations. However, having seen increasing cases of abnormalities in the horses, he finally decided to make the matter public.

He wants to make his situation, name, and address public so that anyone who is interested in this matter can contact him. Hosokawa hopes that research bodies concerned with animals and livestock, and radiation, would conduct further research on the horses.

Tokuei Hosokawa

Usuisiaza cho 123-1, Iitate, Soma-gun, Fukushima prefecture

The article was originally published in March 20, 2012、by Michitaka Kobayashi (text) and Osamu Nakamura (photes) at "Shinsai no Ato" "After the Earthquake" project. 

Translated by WNSCR team

Mr. Hosokawa
Mr. Hosokawa

Write a comment

Comments: 26
  • #1

    jeniffer kozlowski (Monday, 06 May 2013 06:53)

    update on this story? what can we do to help? from u.s.a.

  • #2

    satoko (Monday, 06 May 2013 15:31)

    Hi Jeniffer,
    Thanks for your comment! Please share the story on FB or send the article to your friends! The writer of the original article reports on his FB page on April 20 that other 4 horses died after the visit. It seems there is no doubt that the number of deaths is increasing.
    Satoko, WNSCR member

  • #3

    Carolina van der Mensbrugghe (Thursday, 09 May 2013 07:09)

    Hello, I am a filmmaker from New York coming to film/visit Japan from July 11-August 8th.

    I shot footage last year on the Fukushima situation and am looking for more characters/stories to incorporate into the piece. I would love to see if Hosokawa san would be willing to meet for an interview/film footage of his efforts and work with horses.

    Thank you so much for posting this.



  • #4

    satoko (Thursday, 09 May 2013)

    Hi Carolina,
    Thanks for your message! I don't know hosokawa-san's e-mail address, but you can contact the Japanese writer of this article. You can reach him at k[at]mi-chi.jp 
    [at] should be replaced with @.
    The writer Kobayashi also has FB account.
    Good luck for your project!

    Satoko WNSCR team

  • #5

    jeniffer kozlowski (Saturday, 11 May 2013 06:43)

    thank you so much for your reply. i have shared and shared this heartbreaking story on FB and others are starting to share it too. i am so sorry to learn of this awful situation and i wish i could do more to help ease the suffering :(

  • #6

    mine (Wednesday, 29 May 2013 17:26)






  • #7

    Charles, A rural Texan (Sunday, 14 July 2013 20:47)

    Could Prussian Blue as used with reindeer herds after Chernobyl be helpful. Horses hearts must be healthy or they will die, not like some other animals who can live with sick hearts. Cesium-137 was strongly associated with cardiomyopathy around Chernobyl, especially in children, and such is called Cesium cardiomyopathy. Prussian Blue was used several weeks before reindeer slaughter to reduce Cesium levels to below regulated levels in the meat. Also uncontaminated feeds of their usual diets of lichen were imported since the lichen in their usual foraging areas was perhaps too good at removing radioactive substances from the environment. If Japan cared as much as the governments of Europe about the livestock and livelihoods of its people perhaps Japan could import non-radioactive feed or arrange to produce it at locations elsewhere, like in Africa or South America. Chile is also on the Pacific but is still far away from Japan. South American countries on the Pacific have many years of relations with Japan. Why is there so little thinking or effort to remedy these situations? Yet again Japan turns in on itself to nurse its wounds and perhaps heal in a few hundred years. There are ways to help the situation, it just takes some thought, some creativity and looking beyond the standard solutions offered by governments and entrenched industries. I miss Japan very much.

  • #8

    liz kirkland (Friday, 01 November 2013 03:55)

    Breaks my heart .... How can we help get this into the light

  • #9

    John O'Hare (Sunday, 02 February 2014 09:50)

    If we can help our humanity makes it an imperative..

  • #10

    Anne Novak (Monday, 10 February 2014 05:30)

    Is there an update for 2014? How can the citizens of the world help Tokuei Hosokawa?

  • #11

    watanabe (Tuesday, 06 May 2014 03:43)


  • #12

    Yukko Loco (Friday, 23 May 2014 10:22)

    I live in Yokohama. In these years, a lot of Chinese live here. How do they think about this problem? They live in Japan and use Japanese system and people. Do they do anything?

  • #13

    Martin Hawes (Sunday, 15 June 2014 15:41)

    Such a beautiful country, such beautiful creatures, such beautiful people; yet the horror of radiation is laying waste to it all.

  • #14

    Terese Miller (Sunday, 15 June 2014 23:31)

    Thank you for posting this article. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will post and pass this on to everyone & anyone. The bravery & honor of Tokuei Hosokawa has moved me greatly. We must not stand idle and silent while these truly brave individuals sacrifice all so the world may know the truth.

  • #15

    jimmy (Monday, 16 June 2014 05:12)

    The Lord Jesus will soon return before great tribulation starts upon the Earth,to take the believers(his bride) who are not appointed to wrath 1Thessalonians 5:9. Fukushima radiation is only getting worse and will be a big factor in the tribulation. Please if you don't know Jesus, Ask him into your life now.

  • #16

    Tomi Glover (Monday, 16 June 2014 05:13)

    If any one of you knew anything about a horse, you would have no symphany for this man. Anyone that loves a horse would have never let them suffer like that, how long was that pony laying down, they cant lay down very long without twisting a gut, then they cant get up and the pain is so bad, by the looks of that pony, he should have been shot two weeks before this pic, I would never let my horse suffer like this, to just let them die slowly in agony is a fucking crime, besides the fact that whats happened is a lie, by him and the government.I happend to be hooked up with connect that wAs living there when it all happened and he detailed everyday the situation, like the day the Japanese army lined up shoulder to shoulder, two weeks after the evacuated zone was set up, and walked through shooting everything left alive ,all pets that were left ,all farm animals ,all birds all lizards frogs ,everything,they fucking had to, thats how bad the radiation is, mutations were already happening. This guy must have went back in after they did that ,the idiot killed his self and his animals, no ,hes not an idiot, he had no idea, The Japenese government lie just as bad as ours does, and they censer and control all media going out, they found out about my connect and took his computer and passport and held his wifes family from leaving, it took him months to get his family out

  • #17

    Dan (Monday, 16 June 2014 06:01)

    It is criminal what is happening. The US is to blame also because they built them. The laws that are being passed shows the guilt of both governments! I hate to say it but Major Ed Dames has said Japan, Hawaii, the West Coast of North America is in trouble.

  • #18

    wendy (Monday, 16 June 2014 07:38)

    God Bless you for taking care of these horses! You are so kind I would like to help. Let us know what we can do sir!

  • #19

    jamesofthecommons (Monday, 16 June 2014 14:59)

    Unfortunately,we will probably never be told what exactly killed these creatures,but if by chance we are informed as to what the lethal pathogen was, ''or is,'' it is unlikely that the authorities will admit to any possibility that the radioactive fallout from Dachi has and will continue to make complex living creatures more prone to succumb to a host of death dealing pathogens.We now live in the D and D era,not the AD age.DD being the abbreviation of Death and Deciet.

  • #20

    Tomi Glover (Tuesday, 17 June 2014 00:22)

    I apologize for my earlier comment/rant. I am an American who lives quite insulated from the ails of the world. Forgive me, I know not what I say. I have an addiction to commenting on things I know nothing about.

  • #21

    Alan Nathab (Tuesday, 17 June 2014 02:49)

    I feel your pain Hosokawa. I wish that I could help you some way. We should all send you money to help towards the upkeep of your animals, and for yourself. Because it sounds like you have used most of your money to feed, and move your animals to safer pastures. But you should really take care of your own health first. I know its hard to leave the animals, but you must survive. That is the animals gift to you and your generations past. I am truly sorry for you and your nation, what your people and yourself are going through. May the Great Sun Goddess, Amaterasu shine her Love and Light Upon You and your Family.

  • #22

    Mary (Tuesday, 17 June 2014 05:29)

    Eating contaminated grass and drinking contaminated water. The air etc.
    The result of radioactive waste.
    Everyone knows it. But not everyone will admit it.
    This is just sickening..
    Animals have no money, no political power.. And they are paying the price, in the ocean and on land.
    Innocent of any wrong doing..
    Just so sad.

  • #23

    Sexy SeveN (Wednesday, 18 June 2014 12:09)

    well first off I have to say my condolences I grew up in a horse farm so I know it must be hard for that guy. Now, what are we going to do with this situation? Do you know most of my friends have no idea this fukishima disaster even occurred? Like the whole incident is a mystery to everybody I talk to. What are we gonna do about this?! The oceans are dying radiation levels are in all of our food and water.. I mean is the world over is this it are we like going to be the last generation? Clean up hasnt even been started yet I mean what the hell somebody needs a kick in the ass to start seeing to that shit! Because its not fucking cool. I mean what's wrong with them? and what's wrong with us I'm American I know the government's alotta fucking slime balls, I know that we're idiots but I mean we want to build a tower plants all over the world showed everybody how to do it and build em prolly, but apparently we didn't show em how to do it properly. Why don't we fucking help with the cleanup? why don't we do something? I mean what's going on they want a one world government they can't even clean up the world idiots all of them of them

  • #24

    Brenda (Thursday, 03 July 2014 22:11)

    My prayers are with you and your country. Its just a matter of time before all the health care systems are overwhelmed with sick people. Our trees are dying in my backyard. And all around our town,cities,etc. I know it's from the radioactive rain. because after it rains they get sicker and sicker. Weeds are doing extremely well but are deformed. I think I've seen maybe 4 bees this year. And we have lilac bushes which only lasted 2 weeks. Don't know if its because no bees or radioactive rain. I wish our governments would just tell the truth. Only God can help us now !!!

  • #25

    Gail Kohler (Sunday, 24 August 2014 22:57)

    I am wondering if there could be a connection of this and what is going on in California. There are similar symptoms!

  • #26

    coog (Monday, 24 November 2014 12:32)

    the illuminati, zion Corp'n, the triad, the council of 13, the masonites, want 90% depop....
    now they have it......... maybe 99.5% depop
    when does the revolution start?
    when do we hunt down the corporatocrats?